Flu is a serious contagious disease which is caused by a number of different influenza viruses. Flu can cause a range of symptoms that can be mild or can lead to hospitalization and even death. Most healthy people recover from the flu without problems, but certain people are at high risk for serious complications.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) recently reported increase cases of flu in the United Kingdom (UK). Per the report, more than 11,000 people have died in between Dec 6 and 12 in England and Wales, an increase from the previous week and now above the upper limit of expected levels for this time of year. There has been 250% increase in flu-related hospitalizations which has lead to concern of a repeat flu epidemic. Health officials blamed cold weather and circulating respiratory viruses as potential factors for the increased flu rate.
On the other side, the US has also not been completely protected from the flu attack. CDC reported 724 cases of hospitalizations and 16 deaths between October 3 and December 18, 2010.
Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.
Whether you caught the flu or were healthy throughout the season, it’s not too late to take the precaution to protect yourself from flu. Here are three major guidelines issued by the CDC-
- CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
- The 2010-2011 flu vaccine will protect against an influenza A H3N2 virus, an influenza B virus and the...
2009 H1N1 virus that caused so much illness last season.
- Everyone 6 months of age and older should get vaccinated against the flu as soon as the 2010-2011 season vaccine is available.
- People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you are sick with flu–like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.
Flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them
- If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can treat your illness.
- Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter.
- Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications.
Flu is unpredictable; following the preventive guidelines will certainly help you to protect yourself and your family members from the spread of flu. In case you have flu like symptoms take an immediate assistance of your primary care physician to cure it at an early stage.